If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve had more than a few moments when things aren’t quite right in the parenting world.
Whether it’s the lack of sleep catching up to you during preschool pickup or worrying about how many hours your teenager spends on social media, it can be hard to know if everything is normal or something needs to change.
On a recent Reddit thread, ForYourAttention asked the community, “What screams “I’m a bad parent”?
The thread seems have given a route for some Redditors to talk about some difficult and often harrowing experiences as children so you’ve been warned. Here are the top 20 voted responses.
#1. Not Saying Sorry – 37.3K Votes
Redditor, SuvenPan said that a sign of a bad parent is “Never saying sorry to the kid when the parents make a mistake.”
Fellow Redditor Elizabethhill82 added, “Parents who can’t apologize to a child. It’s ok to have human emotions and moments to be triggered or struggling and lash out or be wrong but for the love of all things good, APOLOGIZE AND CHANGE”.
Robocreator223 went on to say, “My parents are allergic to apologizing when they f*** up, on the rare occasions, they acknowledged they f*** up. Pi** me off to high hell.”
#2. You Use Your Children – 36.3K Votes
Puzzleheaded_Rip_778’s contribution was to say, “Using children as pawns in divorces or separations.” It picked up the second-highest number of votes.
BugzFromZpace reply that, “After divorce, one of our parents immediately weaponized our relationship against the other. I’m 32 and still unweaving all of the details in my brain.”
They later edited their reply, adding, “It hurts my heart to know so many can relate. But it warms my heart to be reminded that I’m not alone.”
Mikalis29 contributed, “My mom did this big time with us. ‘Behave or I’ll send you to your father’s’ was a threat as a kid. Never really knew my dad or why they got divorced. He’s dead, so I know I’ll never get the actual reasons or facts on it.”
#3. Using Your Child as Therapy – 29.2K Votes
The third most voted sign of being a bad parent was from TwentyThreePandas who said, “Treating your kid as your therapist.”
Kenlycake replied, “Using your kid as therapy and then getting upset when they have issues regulating their emotions.”
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Redditor, Sea_Shogun replied, “My mom, 100%. She told me some really heavy stuff about her childhood when I was six. So I spent a good deal of my early adulthood figuring out how to process my own problems.”
#4. Being Too Open About Your Children – 29.1K Votes
50637’s response was to say. “Idk if this really screams it, but i absolutely hate when adults tell other adults their children’s shameful secrets for no reason. even strangers! it tells me those children probably don’t feel like they can trust their parents.”
Ill_Task_257 added, “This was my mom. She knows absolutely nothing about my person life now as an adult, I don’t tell her anything I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling a stranger.”
#5. Not Owning Your Mistakes – 23K Votes
One of Reddit’s top voted responses was given by Muted_npc who said, “Blaming your own mistakes and regrets on your kids.”
In reply Vik919 added, “Yeah, it’s not my fault I was born, it’s yours. And the irony of someone who didn’t raise the kid properly saying that they were a mistake is even worse.”
#6. Telling Your Child They’re Not Good Enough – 20.1K Votes
Remarkable_Lie_9125 shared, “Making your child think they arent good enough.” ForbiddenJello stated, “My Mom once told me “You’re a screw up and you’ll always be a screw up!”. I still think about that every time life isn’t going my way or I’m feeling bad.”
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#7. Blaming Children For Difficult Marriages – 20K Votes
Rhaenely’s contribution was “‘You’re the reason I’m stuck with your father!’ Sure mom, sure…” Poison_harls said their response to this accusation is to say, “I didn’t pick him, you did!”
#8. Thinking Your Parenting Skills Are Perfect – 17.9K Votes
The parents thinking they’re doing fine attracted a lot of replies. It was RandomHeretic contribution that got the most votes, “Ironically, never thinking you’re a bad parent.” Sandpaper_Pants recalled, “I was assigned to arrange a free Parenting with Love and Logic course a bit late in the evening for our school.”
The Reddior went on to say, “They said that those who attended were either ‘…teachers or parents of well-behaved kids’. I felt so naive to think parents of naughty kids would even bother to show up. This still makes me sad to this day.”
#9. Demeaning Your Child – 16.6K Votes
Decayed_self-control contributed, “Demeaning your children as means of punishment.” Slapstick999’s response to this seems to have captured several of the other points in this post.
They said, “This. My mom has extreme accountability issues. Nothing is ever her fault.”
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They continued, “I’m 43M, and after therapy this year I finally confronted her about the abuse I suffered as a kid – emotional from her, and physical from my dad. You know what she told me? That my behaviour was the reason she and dad had marital problems, and if I had just tried to be a better kid, the whole family could have been happier.”
#10. Your Children Are Scared of You – 15.1K Votes
Dependent_Noise_6249 said that a sign you’re a bad parent is if, “Your own children being afraid of you, no child should be afraid of the person that looks after them nearly 24/7.”
Connect_Telephone535 replied, “I really don’t think it clicks till adolescence either when you look back and realize that you really were terrified of your father 24/7 as a child. Or It’s weird when you realize that not all children hate their fathers.”
#11. Not Being Interested in Your Child – 10.5K Votes
JustinChristoph said, “Zero interest in the kid. Doesn’t care what they do or what happens to them as long as they don’t inconvenience them.” Taoistandroid added, “Only caring for the child when they do what you want them to do. For example, if they play the sport you want them to play.”
#12. Yelling At Them. All. The. Time. – 9.1K Votes
SuvenPan’s second contribution also had a lot of vote, “Yelling at the kid for every trivial thing.” Rainbowblack79 replied, “My mother used to get up in my face and yell at me for trivial things. She would also spit on me while yelling. Yelling at a kid is traumatic for the kid. Don’t do it. There are better ways to communicate than yelling.”
#13. Not Being The Last Safety Net – 8.5K Votes
Bernays_scholar contribution was shoking, “I was molested from age 3-6. Told my parents, but they did nothing. In my twenties, my mom had the audacity to tell me that I asked for it. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a mother anymore.”
#14. Physically Hurting Them – 8.4K Votes
Tapestry-of-Life contribution was also upsetting, “I volunteer at/ have had student placements at a children’s hospital and we’ve had patients with serious brain injuries due to abuse (shaking, attempted drowning, etc.). So yeah I’d say those parents are pretty bad.”
#15. Stopping Your Children From Growing Up – 5.4K Votes
Onlyfansnanny’s response was, “The infantilization of their children. Wanting them to stay helpless babies forever because they don’t want them to grow up. I’m a nanny and it seems like a growing trend.”
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They continued, “It’s one thing to engage is some infantile behavior or spoil your children a little. It’s another thing to bend to every whim and not make your kids uncomfortable. Example with some kids I’m currently dealing with, NOT POTTY TRAINING THEM.”
#16. Not Giving Emotional Support – 5.2K Votes
Acetamnophen felt that, “Invalidating your child’s feelings, struggles, and/or mental illness in favor of “you don’t know what struggling really is” or some form of “back in my day” or “you kids are so weak”.
You have just robbed your child of support, told them their feelings do not matter and informed them that you are not a safe person to confide in.”
#17. Telling Them They’re a Disappointment (or Worse) – 5K Votes
Ferrari308GTSI contributed that, “Saying things like ‘you’re such a disappointment’, ‘I wish I had a daughter instead’, ‘you ruined my and you’re mother’s sex life’, this is stuff I heard for years.”
#18. They Never Visit – 4.7K Votes
Ashton_yaste123 said it’s a sign you’ve probably screwed up as a parent if, “Your kids never visit once they move out or go to college.”
Mendeleyev1 added, “Oh it’s me. You’ve caught me. Both of my parents got separated this year and both of them will be enjoying Christmas alone. They have truly reaped what they have sown.”
#19. Your Grown-up Don’t Speak To You – 4.6K Votes
Bothwatchxfiles said, “Your adult children don’t talk to you.” To which Im_from_mississippi replied, “Yeah, it took me awhile to understand that me wanting to go no contact with my parents is a failure on their part. Not mine.”
#20. Not Saying the Word “No” – 3.7K Votes
Heyitsvonage thought that, “Not believing in telling your children ‘no’. The world will and should tell them ‘no’ at times. They need to be prepared for that reality, or they will be an absolute menace to everyone around them.”
This article was produced by Mama Say What?! and syndicated by Career Step Up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Fizkes.